A texting ban is another new piece of legislation in Kansas. The ban prohibits a driver from using a wireless device to write, send, or read a written communication while operating a motor vehicle on a public road or highway. This includes text messages, instant messages, and e-mails.
Exemptions to this exist in the following instances:
• Law enforcement officers or emergency services personnel using the device as part of their scope and duties of such employment.
• A vehicle stopped off of the regularly traveled portion of the roadway.
• As required to read, select, or enter a number or name to place a phone call.
• Read emergency, traffic, or weather alerts.
• Receiving a message related to the operation or navigation of the vehicle.
• Reporting current or ongoing illegal activity to law enforcement.
• Preventing imminent injury to a person or property.
• Information between for-hire operators and their dispatcher using a device permanently affixed to the vehicle.
The ban became effective July 1. Warnings will be issued for violation of this law through Dec. 31. Citations can be issued beginning Jan. 1, 2011.
License-plate visibility is addressed by a new law which came into effect July 1.
This law prohibits a license plate from being covered in whole, or in part, by any clear or opaque material, or any other plastic-like material that affects the plate’s visibility or reflectivity.
Starting July 1, a citation can be issued for violation of this law.
‘Move It Law’
Two laws that were effective last July, become enforceable by citation July 1. The “Move It Law” mandates that drivers involved in non-injury crashes on interstate, U.S. highways, or any divided or multi-lane roadways in the state, as long as the vehicles are not transporting hazardous materials, move vehicles out of the lane of traffic if it is safe to do so.
This law is intended to keep drivers and passengers safe by getting them out of the lane of traffic and away from oncoming vehicles.
If vehicles can be driven, they should be moved to a safer location such as a shoulder or the nearest exit to exchange information or to contact law enforcement.
Law enforcement should always be called if:
• there are injuries;
• a vehicle cannot be moved;
• one of the drivers appears to be intoxicated;
• damage exceeds $1,000;
• one of the drivers has no insurance;
• one of the drivers leaves the scene of the crash.
‘Right Lane Law’
The warning period for the “Right Lane Law” also expired June 30.
The Right Lane Law prohibits vehicles on highways outside the corporate limits of any city, divided into two or more lanes of traffic proceeding in the same direction, from being operated in the far left lane, except when:
• overtaking and passing another vehicle;
• preparing to make a proper left turn;
• otherwise directed by traffic-control devices;
• otherwise required by other provisions of law—for example, stopped emergency or maintenance vehicles.
The Kansas Highway Patrol also reported that traffic fines have increased by $15 effective July 1.
For example, a speeding fine for driving 80 mph in a 70 mph zone would be a $45 fine, with $93.50 in court costs, for a total fine of $138.50.